The one-carbon metabolism as an underlying pathway for placental DNA methylation - a systematic review

MM van Vliet, S Schoenmakers, J Gribnau, RPM Steegers-Theunissen*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Epigenetic modifications, including DNA methylation, are proposed mechanisms explaining the impact of parental exposures to foetal development and lifelong health. Micronutrients including folate, choline, and vitamin B12 provide methyl groups for the one-carbon metabolism and subsequent DNA methylation processes. Placental DNA methylation changes in response to one-carbon moieties hold potential targets to improve obstetrical care. We conducted a systematic review on the associations between one-carbon metabolism and human placental DNA methylation. We included 22 studies. Findings from clinical studies with minimal ErasmusAGE quality score 5/10 (n = 15) and in vitro studies (n = 3) are summarized for different one-carbon moieties. Next, results are discussed per study approach: (1) global DNA methylation (n = 9), (2) genome-wide analyses (n = 4), and (3) gene specific (n = 14). Generally, one-carbon moieties were not associated with global methylation, although conflicting outcomes were reported specifically for choline. Using genome-wide approaches, few differentially methylated sites associated with S-adenosylmethionine (SAM), S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH), or dietary patterns. Most studies taking a gene-specific approach indicated site-specific relationships depending on studied moiety and genomic region, specifically in genes involved in growth and development including LEP, NR3C1, CRH, and PlGF; however, overlap between studies was low. Therefore, we recommend to further investigate the impact of an optimized one-carbon metabolism on DNA methylation and lifelong health.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2318516
Number of pages26
Issue number1
Early online date14 Mar 2024
Publication statusPublished - 2024

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© 2024 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


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